AKA: St. Francis Hotel #3, Union Square, San Francisco, CA ; Western International Hotels Company, Saint Francis Hotel, Union Square, San Francisco, CA

Structure Type: built works - dwellings -public accommodations - hotels

Designers: Bliss and Faville, Architects (firm); Pereira, William L. and Associates Planning and Architecture (firm); Walter Danforth Bliss (architect); William Baker Faville (architect); Albert Herter (painter); William Leonard Pereira (architect); Hart Wood (architect)

Dates: constructed 1906-1907

13 stories

335 Powell Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

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The Crocker Family began construction of the Saint Francis Hotel in 1904, its design completed by the San Francisco firm of Bliss and Faville. Following the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 04/18/1906, much of the building had been destroyed, but the same architectural firm salvaged and reused its steel frame. Bliss and Faville moved their offices into the hotel to supervise its reconstruction and enlargement. While the original Saint Francis had 250 rooms, the rebuilt version possessed 450 when it resumed hosting guests in late 1907. Bliss and Faville worked for over a decade on the Saint Francis, creating a new wing and a tower project (unbuilt) for the hotel between 1907-1913. The Crockers sold the hotel in 1928, but regained possession in 1931, when the buyer defaulted during the early years of the Depression. During the 1930s, Jennie Crocker Henderson owned the Saint Francis and installed Daniel Edwin London as its manager. Crocker hired London when he was 32 to run the large enterprise, and he remained there for a considerable time; when Boston businessman Benjamin H. Swig (1893-1980) obtained the hotel for $4.5 million in 1944, he did so with the proviso that London remain as Managing Director. London continued in this role after Western International Hotels Company (later known as "Westin") purchased the hotel from Swig in 1951. London also served as the Treasurer for the Western International.

In 1926, NBC initiated its third network, the Orange Network, to supplement its Red and Blue programming. The Orange served the West Coast, and began broadcasting from space rented in the Saint Francis Hotel in 1927. It operated here for a short time before moving to new quarters on the Hunter-Dolan Building's 22nd floor. Tel: 800.325.3589 (2010);

Several additions made the Saint Francis the largest hotel on the Pacific Coast in the early 20th century. Hotel ownership enlisted Bliss and Faville to design a third wing in (1908), a roof garden on top of the third wing (1910), and an addition opening onto Post Street (1913). A tunnel was constructed linking the Saint Francis Hotel #3 to the new Union Square Parking Garage in 12/1942. The Los Angeles architectural firm, William Pereira and Associates, designers of San Francisco's Transamerica Pyramid, supervised the design of the 32-story Pacific Tower constructed between 1969-1971. The last addition, with its external elevator, contrasted noticeably from the earlier portions.

PCAD id: 13812